Software Testers Skills Gap

The skills gap of software testers in the UK in 2024

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In 2024, the UK technology sector is in the midst of a rapid expansion, with software development driving innovation and growth. However, this growth is not without its challenges. One of the most pressing issues is the skills gap in software testing, a field that now boasts a $45 billion market size and a projected growth rate of 5% CAGR from 2023 to 2027

As businesses strive to deliver high-quality software products, the demand for skilled software testers has outpaced supply. Currently, the UK has 25 software testers per 100,000 people, but the demand is growing by 25% each year for skilled software testers. With such high demand, software testing presents a promising career field to pursue, offering ample opportunities for growth and development. However, it’s crucial to ensure the necessary expertise to not further contribute to the skills gap challenges that the industry faces.

Key skill shortages

Several specific skill shortages have been identified within the software testing domain:

Automation testing: As automation becomes a cornerstone of modern testing strategies, there is a pronounced shortage of testers proficient in automation tools and frameworks such as Selenium, Cypress, and Appium.

Performance testing: Another area where the gap is evident is the ability to conduct performance testing using tools like JMeter and LoadRunner. Performance testing ensures software can handle high user loads and maintain responsiveness.

Security testing: With the rise of cyber threats, the need for security testing expertise has never been greater. Testers skilled in identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities are in high demand.

Agile and DevOps: Integrating Agile and DevOps methodologies into software development cycles has created a need for testers who can work seamlessly in these environments. Skills in continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) are particularly sought after.

What are the potential risks and implications of the skills gap in software testing?

Understanding these is crucial for the industry’s future:

Impact on quality and innovation

The skills gap in software testing can have far-reaching implications for businesses. One of the most immediate effects is on the quality of software products. Software defects and vulnerabilities may go undetected without adequately skilled testers, leading to lower product quality and potential security breaches. This, in turn, can damage a company’s reputation and result in financial losses.

Delayed project timelines

The shortage of skilled testers also affects project timelines. With insufficient testing resources, projects may experience delays as testing phases take longer to complete. This can disrupt the overall development cycle and delay the release of new products or updates.

Increased costs

Hiring skilled software testers has become more competitive, increasing salaries and recruitment costs. Additionally, companies may need to invest in extensive training programs for existing staff to bridge the skills gap, further increasing operational expenses.

What’s contributing to the skills gap in software testing?

Rapid technological advancements

New tools, frameworks, and methodologies are constantly emerging. Training organisations such as TSG Training keep up to date with the latest developments to offer the most up-to-the-minute training options. Organisations with set training plans can struggle to keep up to date with the latest changes and deviate from their set training plans for their team.

Lack of awareness

Many individuals may not consider software testing as a viable and rewarding career path. Many aspiring tech professionals gravitate towards software development or data science roles, overlooking the critical importance of testing in the software lifecycle.

Experienced workforce retiring

A significant portion of the existing skilled workforce is approaching retirement age. The retirement of experienced testers exacerbates the skills gap, as there are fewer seasoned professionals to mentor and train new entrants.

How to bridge the software testing skills gap

Enhancing education

Organisations must collaborate closely with industry stakeholders to address the skills gap and design and implement comprehensive software testing curricula to boost their team’s knowledge. This includes offering specialised courses in automation, performance, and security testing, as well as practical, hands-on training.

TSG Training works closely with software companies to ensure our curriculum is relevant and offers real-world examples and relevant practical exercises. We can then provide bespoke training options specific to the needs of organisations.

Promoting awareness of software testing careers

Increasing awareness of software testing as a rewarding career path is crucial. Industry associations, tech companies, and educational institutions can collaborate on outreach programs to highlight the importance of software testing and the opportunities it offers.

Investing in professional development

Employers can play a significant role by investing in the continuous professional development of their testing teams. This includes providing access to advanced training programs, certifications, and opportunities for testers to attend industry conferences and workshops.

Encouraging diversity in the workforce

Promoting diversity within the software testing workforce can help address the skills gap. Encouraging more women, minorities, and individuals from non-traditional backgrounds to pursue careers in testing can expand the talent pool and bring fresh perspectives to the field.

Leveraging apprenticeships

Apprenticeships offer a practical solution by combining on-the-job training with formal education. These programs can provide a pipeline of skilled testers who are well-prepared to meet industry demands. Companies can collaborate with apprenticeship providers to create tailored programs that address specific skill shortages.

Addressing the skills gaps in software testing

The skills gap in software testing presents a significant challenge for the UK technology sector in 2024. As the demand for skilled testers continues to grow, it is imperative for industry stakeholders to take proactive measures to bridge this gap.

Addressing the skills gap is essential for ensuring the quality, security, and innovation of software products, ultimately contributing to the continued growth and success of the UK technology sector.

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